Social Enterprise UK and the Cabinet Office have started to publish data that shows how much money local authorities and central government departments are spending on social enterprises.
The data is available on SEUK’s website and will allow users to find out how much local authorities and central government spend on social enterprises by total amounts and by region, and to establish which social enterprises were the top suppliers by financial year.
This tool is based on data from the SEUK’s Buy Social Directory, an index of more than 10,000 social enterprises in the UK.
The datasets were created by linking to information from Companies House, then cross-referencing records with spending information from local authorities and central government. The project was led by SEUK with support from the Cabinet Office Release of Data Fund.
The data shows that Kent and Suffolk County Councils were the two highest spenders on SEUK members in 2013/14, each spending £13m. The social care charity Turning Point was the biggest supplier among SEUK’s members to local and central government, supplying services worth £23m in 2013/14.
The data shows that local and central government spent an estimated £197m with SEUK members in 2013/14.
Peter Holbrook, chief executive of SEUK, said: "The growing social enterprise sector provides public authorities with a new way to do business, and we can now see how they are taking advantage of it.
"The data initiative will lead to greater accountability throughout public bodies, in regards to their respective spend and procurement.
"It will be a game-changer for our members because, for example, they can identify and target markets that are increasingly using social enterprises."
Rob Wilson, the Minister for Civil Society, said: "The UK has the world’s largest social enterprise sector, and providing data on more than 10,000 businesses will give a powerful insight into how social enterprises work. Giving access to data will open up opportunities and demonstrate how these organisations invest their profits locally so that businesses can have a positive impact on communities and the environment."